Singing My Heart Out…

When we can’t see her in person and are 6 hours away my eyes light up when I see the little green light on my phone saying you’ve got a message. Our daughter-in-law is good at sending us photo updates of little Addy May. Thank you dear Jamie!

Our two girls from across the state staying warm in their icy cold conditions.

Here she is just chillin in the kitchen while mama gets something done. Dan and Jamie are going to have to make a more secure play area for her since just this week she’s learned to use her play toys to climb up onto the couch and be able to escape her cordoned off play area.

What does all of this have to do with singing?

I’ve been singing all my life and it’s an important part of my life. My love for singing started in church. In my father’s Molokan church growing up into my teens singing was acapella. There were no instruments in the church and the songs were mostly from the Psalms in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. My father was a “songleader” in this church. For Easter and Christmas we would visit my maternal grandmother’s Russian Baptist Church where we enjoyed singing with piano and organ. In junior high school choir was one of my classes and I was introduced to notes and music. After my father attended the Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angles in 1963 he started a new life of following Christ as his Savior and we eventually left the Molokan Church. We started attending my maternal grandmother’s church. At the Baptist church my sisters and I were part of the youth choir which eventually worked on recording tapes of Russian hymns for Far East Broadcasting and Slavic Gospel Association to be broadcast into the Soviet Union over radio waves. During my high school years our youth choir went out every Christmas Eve to carol in Russian and English at old folks homes. We’d choose the homes where folks from the Russian churches were housed. There was one apartment building a couple doors down from Bethany Baptist Church in Los Angeles where several of our widowed grandmothers lived in separate apartments next door to each other. We’d always start our caroling there. I have to add that in my junior high and high school years I memorized and sang along with the Beatles and Leslie Gore and with whatever other group was popular. I was a “songleader” in high school. We were part of the cheer squad at sporting events and mostly yelled chants while performing routines with pom poms. “Push em back, push em back, waaaaay back. LOL!

In my college years our Los Angeles Russian Choir added some Russian voices from around the state of California and we recorded an album in a professional studio. During this time we met a studio musician who directed a Christian singing ensemble that toured the states and Great Britain. My best friend at the time auditioned for his group. She was added and toured England with them in the summer of 1972. I met the members of Tom Keene and the Contemporaries before they left for England and when they returned an alto left and I auditioned and joined the group in fall of 1972. Dear, his brother and sister in law were part of the Contemporaries. Dear and I started dating. We performed most every Sunday evening at a different church in the greater Los Angles area singing and giving our testimonies. We had weekly practices. Dear and my relationship grew and we got married after our second tour of Great Britain.

This was a newspaper article from a British paper about our group touring and singing in local schools.

Chalk church in Gravesend

All this talk about singing was inspired by the fact that today Laura bought tickets for me, my sister Lana and Katie to attend The Sound of Music sing along at the 5th Avenue in Seattle. The four of us are meeting for lunch and then popping into the theater for what I’m sure will be a fun time of singing our hearts out! Have you ever attended one of these sing along events?

Looking forward to spending a few hours with these girls. Wish our girls from across the mountains could be with us.

My semi professional singing days are well over and now my favorite times to sing are still in church and to little Addy May. I sing nursery rhymes and other songs to her. She doesn’t care that my voice cracks and I don’t stay on key or…if I make up the words! Looking forward to when she can sing along with me!

Till next time, The hills are alive…

A Very Merry Christmas Day

Christmas Carol

Hallelujah! hark! from above
Angels come on their wings of love;
Loud hosannas welcome the morn;
Christ our Redeemer’s born.


Glory to God the choral strain;
Glory to God the sweet refrain;
Glory, glory, glory to God!
Christ our Redeemer’s born.

Chiming, chiming, hark! ’tis the bells;
Joy to all now their music tells;
Floating onward, greeting the morn;
Christ our Redeemer’s born.


Hallelujah! joyful we sing,
While we praise our exalted king;
Let our carol welcome the morn;
Christ our Redeemer’s born.


Words: Fanny Crosby

Hallelujah tis done, I believe on the son, I’ve been saved by the blood of the crucified one.

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming


Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)

Words: 15th Cen­tu­ry car­ol (Es ist ein Ros ent­sprung­en); vers­es 1-2 trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by // The­o­dore Bak­er, 1894. Verses 3-4, Fried­rich Lay­ritz, trans­lat­ed by Har­ri­et Rey­nolds Krauth, 1875. Verse 5, trans­lat­ed or writ­ten by // John C. Mat­tes, 1914.

Joy and Advent


The third candle, usually for the Third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally Pink or Rose, and symbolizes Joy at the soon Advent of the Christ.  It marks a shift from the more solemn tone of the first two Sundays of Advent that focus on Preparation and Hope, to a more joyous atmosphere of anticipation and expectancy.

As believers we have the joy of Jesus in us. Joy is a recurring theme and response to Jesus and what he has done for us. Look at the joy in these verses from the Bible. Take a moment to ready through them.

Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD.
Zechariah 2:9-11

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
Matthew 2:9-11

You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
Luke 1:13-15

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
Luke 1:43-45

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Luke 2:9-11

Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
Luke 6:22-24

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
Luke 10:20-22

In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:9-11

These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
John 15:10-12

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
John 17:12-14

And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:51-52

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:11-13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:12-14

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-3

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:7-9

Remember this Christmas season when you see a star, fake or real, pause to rejoice.
When you see a babe think of our Savior and rejoice.
When you see gifts beautifully wrapped think of the very best gift of all we have been given from God through Jesus and rejoice.

REJOICE with the angels
REJOICE with the shepherds
REJOICE with Mary and Joseph
REJOICE and again I say REJOICE!

The Day After


I’m typing this before the sun rises. Hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good day. We had a wonderful celebration with old friends. The oldest being 90 and the youngest just one year. We are moving on to thoughts of December and all there is to celebrate. This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Do you do anything special on Advent Sundays? When do you put up your tree or start decorating for Christmas?

All of our kids will be here this morning so I’ll be off line for most of today. Have a good Friday and don’t spend all your money in one place!

Three Full Days…

Before we are swept into 2015 I’ll share our full three days of celebrating…

We had a very quiet Christmas Eve. Early in the morning we braved the parking lots at Costco and Safeway and bought the last minute items we needed for Christmas day. We bought a Costco rotisserie chicken and macaroni & cheese for any hunger pangs we might have as we got ready for Christmas day.

Our Christmas Eve service followed the theme of peace in the midst of pain and chaos. We enjoyed singing traditional Christmas carols with a few modern twists and we even had snow fall during the service inside church! After work on Christmas Eve Andrew and Katie arrived for the night enjoying our treats from Costco and after Dear and I went to sleep I heard Josh and Laura arrive for the night after they celebrated with Laura’s family.

Early on Christmas morning Dear and I heard some ducks quacking and it took us a while to spot them on the neighbor’s roof. A quacky good morning made us smile.

More presents were added next to the tree as Dear and I slept.

We woke the kids up to a favorite Christmas CD by Twila Paris to see what gifts Santa delivered to our stockings.

Our breakfast table was all ready to go for our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of Swedish Pancakes that Dear makes for us.

After breakfast I changed out the table for our Christmas Dinner with two places added for Dan and his fiance Jamie who were on the road from Eastern Washington to join us for dinner and the rest of the weekend.

Christmas Day 008Our meal on Christmas day was our traditional Prime Rib Roast and Yorkshire pudding with roasted root vegetables and creamed corn.

Our kids with their loves!

The original family with our three children.

Our oldest, Josh, married Laura in 2001.

Our youngest, Katie, married Andrew in 2011.

Our middle son Dan who will be married to Jamie in 2015.

All of us together.

The day after Christmas we had another fun evening celebrating Dan and Jamie’s engagement and Katie’s birthday with family and friends. We had appetizers and Dear’s Tomato Rice Soup for our gathering.

Katie, Andrew, Steve (BIL), Lana (My sister), Beth (mother of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dan, Jamie

Laura, Dave (Father of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dear, Ellen b., Josh and Katie. Unfortunately Dan’s best friend growing up was home sick along with his little daughter so his family wasn’t able to join us.

We toasted Dan and Jamie and then we sang to Katie before she blew out the candles on her Applesauce Spice Birthday Cake.

Our hearts are full and flowing over.

Dan and Jamie left our home on Sunday morning headed across the mountains again to Eastern Washington. We got the text that they arrived safely and that is always a good text to receive.

How are things at your place?

InSPIREd Sunday

This church is in Ventura, California. When we walked past a few years ago it was not being used as a church anymore. It has been operating as a Bed and Breakfast and Tea Room.

Southern Methodist Espiscopal Church ~ Designed in the Carpenter Gothic Style by Ventura architect FP.Ward, this church was built by Selwyn Shaw in 1888 on donated land. Notable features include Eastlake detailing stained glass windows, steeply pitched roof, 96 foot steeple, and delicate “gingerbread” along the roof edges. (City of San Buenaventura Historic Preservation Commission)

I’m linking to InSPIREd Sunday with Sally and Beth. Click over to see more churches or graveyards.

We had quite a wind storm blow through last night and some people are without power including our daughter and her husband. They live in an all electric building so that has made life interesting for them. Katie is spending the day with us while her hubby is at work since we have power.